Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices. Topic SB-29. Customer Focused Service Strategies

Although several reports describe transit agency practices for determining eligibility for the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) paratransit service, little has been documented about how transit agencies manage appeals by applicants who are determined to be “not eligible” or are found “conditionally eligible,” including temporary eligibility. Appeal programs allow appellants the opportunity to present new information not provided or available during the initial eligibility decision that may warrant a change in eligibility. At the same time, any appeal program must consistently apply the decision-making standards established by the agency’s ADA paratransit certification program. As more agencies employ some form of conditional eligibility, eligibility appeal processes are emerging as a significant area of vulnerability. If the eligibility appeal process is not administered properly, transit agencies run the risk of violating applicants’ civil rights under the ADA. This can result in complaints being filed with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and/or costly lawsuits. A synthesis study identifying ADA eligibility appeal processes and practices is urgently needed. While a small number of ADA paratransit programs offer highly structured eligibility and appeal processes, many do not. At the same time, comparative information about how transit agencies design or administer their appeal programs is not readily available. Such information can be valuable to properties where there are gaps in resources or expertise available to address this topic. This synthesis will document the current state of the practice and identify challenges and lessons learned through a literature review, survey of representative transit agencies, and documentation of selected case examples/profiles. Information gathered will include but not be limited to: (1) Administration of appeal programs including policies and procedures (e.g., day-to-day program management, appellant interface, hearing structure and logistics, documentation and correspondence); (2) Appeal hearing composition (e.g., employees, community representatives, professionals); (3) Appeal outcome documentation (e.g., quality control and consistency with local ADA paratransit certification program, recordkeeping, ADA compliance); and (4) Resource requirements (e.g., program management, personnel, training, compensation, transportation, other costs). The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) ADA regulations regarding eligibility appeal only set out minimum requirements, leaving specifics of process and structure to be developed and documented at the initiative of local transit services. As stated in 49 CFR §37.125(g): (1) The entity may require that an appeal be filed within 60 days of the denial of an individual's application. (2) The process shall include an opportunity to be heard and to present information and arguments, separation of functions (i.e., a decision by a person not involved with the initial decision to deny eligibility), and written notification of the decision and the reasons for it. (3) The entity is not required to provide paratransit service to the individual pending the determination on appeal. However, if the entity has not made a decision within 30 days of the completion of the appeal process, the entity shall provide paratransit service from that time until and unless a decision to deny the appeal is issued. Additionally, Appendix D of the regulations and FTA’s Circular C-4710.1 (2015) briefly summarize the regulatory requirements and suggest some appeal practices.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project J-07, Topic SB-29

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Garcia-Colberg, Mariela

  • Start Date: 20160527
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40901

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01601672
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project J-07, Topic SB-29
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 4 2016 1:00AM